Every December 13th we celebrate the history of cocoa around the world with National Cocoa Day. Winter is the perfect time to celebrate our love for hot cocoa as there is nothing better than drinking a warm mug of hot chocolate to warm up your body and spirit! But what is the difference between Cocoa and Hot Chocolate? In the west we use the terms interchangeably but around the world, the two products are very different.
Cocoa beans come from the Cacao tree in tropical countries like Brazil, Ghana, Malaysia, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast. Almost 80% of the world’s cocoa production comes from these six countries alone. Cocoa beans are from the inside of the Cacao tree fruits, and are harvested, dried in the sun and roasted. When the beans are ground, the fine powder created is called cocoa powder. Cocoa butter is also produced and separated in this process.
Hot cocoa contains the cocoa powder from the ground, roasted beans minus the cocoa butter, and is mixed with milk powder and sweeteners with water or milk. Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is made from grating actual chocolate pieces or slivers into steaming milk which melts it into drinking chocolate. The chocolate contains cocoa butter, whose added fat contributes to a richer, smoother and thicker drink.
At Ticket we use the finest Belgian chocolate with a higher ratio of cocoa butter than typical chocolate. This type of chocolate is called couverture chocolate, and this extra ratio of cocoa butter creates a silky smooth chocolate which melts more easily into the milk, giving it an exceptionally rich flavor and smooth creaminess. Taste for yourself the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate — we guarantee you’ll enjoy the taste testing!
A brief chocolate history:
The Mayans for many thousands of years used cocoa powder and spices to make hot cocoa. Cacao beans were used as currency as well, and only the elite and the Mayan rulers and warriors were allowed to drink hot cocoa. When Columbus inadvertently brought back the Cacao pods to Spain, the Spanish and then Swiss and Dutch started making chocolate and then drinking chocolate with milk (hot chocolate). This was considered an elite drink and very expensive, and hot chocolate houses and clubs opened up in areas throughout Europe, much like coffee shops today.